Sunday, June 1

Where have all the flowers gone - a magnolia update.

The magnolia has now lost all its flowers and the thickening leaves are losing the fresh green of spring. Generally the young exuberant growth is maturing and wearing a more toned down wardrobe.
Less light now penetrates the canopy creating deep shade beneath the tree.
Fortunately the spring flowers, planted in what is now the shade, completed their flowering  period well before the sunlight was shut out.
The magnolia's new spring growth is easily identified as the stems are still green and pliable.
The ends of the new shoots are topped with furry green leaf buds.
The extended growth taps on our upstairs windows and branches will soon need cutting back to limit the tree's spread.

Seed pods are still sitting, like candles, on the ends of mature side shoots.
Now that the fallen petals have disappeared  they are the only sign that the tree was once loaded with exotic looking flowers.
I'll be interested to break inside a seed-pod when it seems to have ripened - just to see whether any seeds have formed.

The birds love the cover afforded by the canopy especially the young that sit amongst the branches noisily waiting to be fed - we hear them but they are difficult to spot tucked in amongst the leaves - it's even more impossible to take a clear photo. 
With our garden bird numbers swollen by flocks of fledglings, feeders and bird tables are quickly cleared. 

The most popular nesting box is positioned just a short hop from the tree. Although this was bought as a sparrow box - I think it may be positioned too low for their liking - it has only ever been used by the tit family. This year it is home to a brood of great tits. I think our nest cam needs to exchange places with it to give us a better chance of filming any nesting activity.
Hopefully the nest will stay safe from another creature that uses the tree as a superhighway to food. Fortunately it seems content to share the bird's food and forage the crocus bulbs that it has dug out from pots in the garden.
The bark of the magnolia is quite distinctive. It has an irregular pattern of what almost look like chickenpox spots.
A clematis has grasped the opportunity to escape from a nearby fence and clamber up the trunk.
Another escapee from the fence is a wisteria that has made it up to the very top of the canopy.
Maybe I need to lean out of the upstairs window to prune it as I don't remember seeing any flowers.


19 comments:

  1. I love the picture of the inquisitive squirrel shame they have pushed the reds out, still fun to watch though

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    1. It is a shame about the reds, David but I still can't bring myself yo dislike the greys - even when they dig up my crocuses

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  2. Is it worth trying to sow, if you find any seeds? Other than by layering, I'm not sure how one goes about propagating a magnolia.

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    1. My sister has a large tree that started as a cutting from mine, Jessica, I am since told that getting a cutting from a magnolia is impossible but I'm sure I had a couple others root at the same time which I gave away. May have just been a fluke but it proves the impossible is sometimes attainable.

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  3. Well, you have certainly studied your Magnolia in detail! When you do look further there is a lot to see. Your carpet of Hellebores under the Magnolia is giving me something to aspire to...

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    1. I have some small plants to add to the hellebores, Mark. I think I'll chose another tree or plant next year and repeat the exercise.

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  4. Still a lovely tree to have in the garden even without the flowers. I bet the birds enjoy having their feeders hanging from there, I know they clear the ones I hang in our lilac tree before the ones on the feeding station. Is the squirrel a regular visitor? I've only ever seen the odd one around here, though we had to slow down in the car a week or so ago as there was a baby crossing the road which wasn't in too much of a hurry to scurry out of danger.

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    1. The birds love it, Jo especially as it is close to a crab apple too. We have periods when we see a squirrel regularly and then don't for a while. I think this one was a youngster as it was quite small and skinny.

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  5. It really is a wonderful specimen Sue and the fact the wildlife get the benefit too makes it all the more special

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    1. I guess they find bugs amongst the leaves too Angie

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  6. I have never seen the seed and the seeds pod before, so interesting!

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    1. I'd love to get some seeds from them, Endah

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  7. Shame about the flowers but the leaves look quite healthy and its a good looking tree.

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    1. They did give us a long display, Kelli and all good things come to an end.

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  8. How beautiful your magnolia still is, I do love the leaves. My tiny one looks like it might be pretty much dead. Such a shame, I was really looking forward to seeing it grow. Lucky you having nesting great tits, it will be fun to watch them fledge. I love wisteria, I'm thinking of getting a white one to cover a fence in the back garden. Your garden looks wonderful, it's like the rainforest under that magnolia!

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    1. I think the great tits fledged when we were not looking CJ probably whilst we were busy on the plot!

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  9. Brilliant photo of the squirrel.

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    1. Can't claim credit for that one PL, Martyn had his camera at the ready so he let me have one of his photos,

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  10. Lovely post, I particularly loved that squirrel....what a brilliant photo!xxx

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